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PSILOTACEAE (Whiskfern Family)

References: Lellinger (1985); Thieret in FNA (1993b).

A family of 2 genera and 4-8 species.

Psilotum Swartz (Whiskfern)

A genus of 2-3 species, tropical and warm temperate.

Psilotum nudum (Linnaeus) Beauvois, Whiskfern. Cp (NC, SC), Pd* (NC): in moist bottomland forests, on soil, stumps, and tree bases, along building foundations (where introduced); rare (NC Candidate, SC Rare List). April-September. Ranging from s. SC south to s. FL, west to e. TX, disjunct (and apparently native) in ne. NC (Perry & Musselman 1994), rarely naturalized around buildings in c. NC; also in sw. United States and in the tropics of Central and South America, Africa, and Asia. Psilotum lacks roots and true leaves. Other than the Australasian genus Tmesipteris, Psilotum has no close living relatives, and the 2 genera are usually considered to comprise a distinct class (Wagner 1977). The stem is chlorophyllose. Fungal cells interspersed in the outer layers of the rhizome aid in the absorption of nutrients. The stiff, dichotomously-branched habit of Psilotum is unmistakable. [= RAB, FNA, K, S]

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Flora of the Carolinas and Virginia, Working Draft of 27 October 1997 -- KEY TO PTERIDOPHYTE GENERA. Alan S. Weakley. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office, Southern Conservation Science Department.